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 Post subject: 1 in 3 or 1 in 300?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Joined: 16 Aug 2006
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
One thing in my continuous study of mentalism effects is that of a debate between the chances in getting something correct.

Example, I have several effects (or will be getting some) that offer choices of (and chances of me getting) 1 out of 3, 1 out of 4, or 1 out of 5. Some say this isn't very effective but a 1 out of 52 (deck of cards) or 1 out of 100's is alot more effective. While this may be true, I also think that as a performer (mentalist), I 'have' to be correct. There can't be any chances. I even have an effect where I have a 1 out of 2 chance/choice which gives me a 50% chance on being correct. However, as the mentalist, I have to be 100% correct. There's no 50%, no 25%, etc....

Does the number really matter in mentalism? Judging from my own performances, it absolutely does not and that is the reason why I am checking out a couple of other effects that are 1 out of 3 and so on.

I'm still curious on what you guys think, though!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Of course it matters. I trick where you have a 90% chance of being correct is not as effective as where you have 50% chance of being correct and so on. However, this applies only if you do a trick once. If you do a coin in hand trick and you guess which hand holds the coin, that's not impressive. However, if you do it four or five times in a row and bet 20 bucks on the last round, all of a sudden the effect is exciting. You see the difference?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:15 pm 
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born to perform.

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Location: Newmarket, ON, Canada
Otto, your thinking is backwards I believe. A trick with a 90% success rate is much more effective than a trick with a 50% success rate. This means that 9 times out of 10 it will work versus 5 times out of 10. But yes, I do think it matters, and I refuse to perform a trick that doesn't have a 100% success rate myself. If I have a chance for failure, I won't perform it.
By the way, to get you thinking about statistics, here is an interesting clip from Derren Brown's the system:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1uJD1O3L08


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:27 pm 
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Bucky, with all due respect, please re-read original post. The man is asking if 1 in 2 chance (as in a coin flip) is as effective as 1 in 52 (as in a card trick). Meaning, if the chance of you being right appears to be smaller, does that make the trick less effective. Re-read my post for the answer. BTW, I have seen The System. Great episode. The only thing I don't like about it is him saying that it's a new idea. In fact, this idea, to the best of my knowledge, was first explored in an old Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. Can't remember the episode name right now though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:45 pm 
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born to perform.

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I read your post, and effective is the wrong word to use there. Impressive is a much more fitting word seeing as how that is the message you were trying to convey. I simply corrected your mis-statement. And you're right, it's not a new idea, statistics and probability was invented before him, and that problem invented before the system obviously. I'm also pretty sure that the Alfred Hitchcock thing is also newer than the probability problem he poses in it. A cool solution to predicting races though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:59 pm 
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bucky310 wrote:
Otto, your thinking is backwards I believe. A trick with a 90% success rate is much more effective than a trick with a 50% success rate. This means that 9 times out of 10 it will work versus 5 times out of 10. But yes, I do think it matters, and I refuse to perform a trick that doesn't have a 100% success rate myself. If I have a chance for failure, I won't perform it.
By the way, to get you thinking about statistics, here is an interesting clip from Derren Brown's the system:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1uJD1O3L08


Is it? Really? I'd say it would be much more impressive if I had little chance of succeeding, yet I did anyway. The way you wrote it, you're saying a 90% sure thing is more impressive. Not hardly. Now if was a 90% success rate on a 52:1 long shot, then I'd be impressed.

Now that the confusion is out of the way, the worse the odds, the better it is for the performer if they succeed. If it's simply 50/50, then you'll need to repeat the effect several times to establish a trend that you're never wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:41 pm 
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As already stated. Geez, you completely misunderstand what I said. 90% success rate means that to the spectator it seems that your rate of success is 90% and therefore it's not that impressive. Back on topic...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:42 pm 
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born to perform.

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DaveV you are misunderstanding me, I wrote effective thereby using its proper wording. I did not write impressive which is the proper word for how amazing a trick may be. I do agree with the worse odds for success the more impressive it becomes though. Just when I read his one sentence about a 90% thing being less EFFECTIVE, I knew his wording was wrong, and decided to correct him. His logic is correct, he's just using the wrong wording. As did I before when I said "your thinking is backwards" so, everyone can do it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:03 pm 
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Nope, the wording is right. "a 90% chance of being correct is not as effective as where you have 50% chance of being correct and so on." I have no idea why you are confused.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:12 pm 
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We all seem to agree on the spirit of the message, but not the words used.

Let's just move on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:06 am 
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Hey sneak, I agree that it does not matter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:57 pm 
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Would you care to elaborate? Are you saying that an effect where the spec hides the coin and you guess it right is just as effective as an effect where you guess which number the spec will think of from 1 to 1000?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:45 am 
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I believe so but it does depend on the effect.
Still, each spectator will have their individual opinion as to which effect was better or more entertaining.

* Performing a Smash and Stab routine with 52 cups isn't going to be more impressive than using 5 cups and just may actually become a bit mundane.
:wink:

* Performing a, "Pick a number 1-4" can be as impressive as a "1-1000" like when using cards such as in Twisted Sisters.

*Performing a, "1-3" effect with three different subjects like colors, shapes and sizes could be just as or more impressive than a "1-300" prediction.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:21 pm 
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Good point.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:36 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
EZrhythm wrote:
I believe so but it does depend on the effect.
Still, each spectator will have their individual opinion as to which effect was better or more entertaining.

* Performing a Smash and Stab routine with 52 cups isn't going to be more impressive than using 5 cups and just may actually become a bit mundane.
:wink:

* Performing a, "Pick a number 1-4" can be as impressive as a "1-1000" like when using cards such as in Twisted Sisters.

*Performing a, "1-3" effect with three different subjects like colors, shapes and sizes could be just as or more impressive than a "1-300" prediction.
Good post, EZrhythm, and glad you agree.

Many of the top magicians and mentalists use effects that are only 1 in 3, etc....

In another site, this same debate is going on because a 'world class mentalist' has a new trick that is only 1 out of 4. Some say this isn't that impressive while others say it is.

I think it all depends on what type of effect it is, what type of routine you're using, what type of show (stage, 1 on 1, etc....). You gave great points on why 'less is more' such as with your 'smash and stab' example. Sometimes for a stage show, for example, you need to have things visible and too many of something may not be that visible since it would probably be small. So, with just a few of something, that something can be bigger and so more visible. And if you have too many, then as you also said, it may become too long of an effect and people could get bored. With just a few, it could flow quicker and so people won't get caught up in boredom (and could also follow what's going on better, if it's to complicated, then they might miss something and then the whole effect may be meaningless to that person/people).

I think, too, that too many magicians/mentalists get caught up in magicians thinking and simple looking effects aren't that great anymore. They're looking for a more complicated, 'harder to achieve the desired results' type of effects but to a layperson (which, in most/all cases, will be your audience), they're (the layperson) are simply watching to see if the magician/mentalist will be correct because as I said in my first post when I started this thread, a layperson will be thinking that the magician/mentalist 'has' to be correct and that is so important to remember and so simple looking or not (1 in 2 chances of being correct, 1 in 3 chances of being correct, etc...), the fact is (and as already mentioned but very important), the magician/mentalist has to be correct. Always remember this, a layperson will be watching a magic/mentalist show much differently than a magician/mentalist (and you can still amaze magicians/mentalists if they can't conclude on how you performed an effect, whether it be a simple looking effect or not).

In conclusion, there is a reason why many of the top professionals in magic/mentalism use the simpler effects. Sometimes, less really means more.


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